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  1. #1
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    Minor ankle sprain still sore after 2 months

    I've read quite a threads on ankle sprains, but each case is different from mine so I figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask.

    10 weeks ago I sprained my right ankle inwards, by falling off a unicycle and landing with my full weight on my right foot. There was no noticeable swelling over the next few days, and it hurt to walk on, but I could continue with normal life. About 2 weeks later, I got back to mastering the one wheel.

    I rode about once a week, an hour each time. In the next few days after each ride, my foot would feel sore. But it was getting better. Around week 6, I rode twice in a week, and my foot got really sore the next few days, just from walking around. On week 7, I rode again, and again it got sore easily the days after. I decided to take a break. I saw a doctor at my university and was advised to rest for a few weeks.

    I have full range of motion, and I notice that if I squat (with heels touching the floor), the area around the anterior talofibular ligament and calcaneofibular ligament would feel stiff and slightly painful, like a dull ache.

    I've been resting for 3 weeks now, and it still feels the same, maybe with minor improvement. My foot also gets a little sore if I walk/stand too much during the day. Visited the university clinic again, and was assigned doctor. He advised me to rest for another 4 weeks. This is depressing, as it means no cycling of any kind.

    I have not been given any advice to speed up the recovery, but I have been rotating my ankle and doing exercises like drawing the alphabet. I have no problems doing these exercises. I have an aircast a60 ankle brace that I intend to use while riding, but am considering wearing it for a week or two to see if it helps my ankle rest enough to start healing faster.

    I'm puzzled as to how an ankle sprain with no swelling, can take so long to heal. It might be that I did not rest long enough before continuing my activities, which slowed down the healing process. I am also confused, because what I read on the internet says that it is important to exercise the injured ankle as soon as possible, within limits, to allow it to heal strong.

    Is this normal? I would love to hear some of your ankle injuries stories as well.
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  2. #2
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    No its not normal. But if you have sprained your ankle several times on previous occasions like many of us have you may have never fully healed the previous times just the symptoms went away. One thing to to for lingering ankle sprains is to have your ankle worked on by a good massage therapist who does lots of deep work not a fluffy spa massage but a deep tissue rehab massage on that ankle. The ligament you sprained is more than likely your Anterior taliofibular ligament (located just lateral to the tendons going to your 4 little toes in a little pit in your ankle) and will be very tender to the touch and more then likely very sore after they work on it but after just a 1-2 sessions fallowed by icing your ankle should feel much better.

  3. #3
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    I cannot remember the last time I sprained my right ankle (probably have when I was younger). This is my first "real" sprain that I can recall.

    My ankle went back to feeling "normal" after many weeks of rest, so I started activities again. However after 2 weeks the ache started coming back, so on the 9th November I went to my university clinic, and got referred to a physiotherapist. I told her my symptoms and she said that my peronus muscle was tight. She told me to continue my activities and to visit her again in a few weeks.

    I am taking a week off again before my next physio appointment. At this point of time I don't even mind paying for an MRI just to find out what is happening!
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  4. #4
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    I sprained my ankle years ago (skiing) and didn't think it was that bad because there was no visible swelling and I could walk on it (although stairs were tough), so I didn't see a doctor. I could even jog on it a week or two later, but I had to stay on a perfectly flat surface or it hurt like crazy. During the summer, I was able to mountain bike, but unclipping and hike-a-bike sections hurt. I was shocked that it took so long to heal. It turns out that I had a high ankle sprain which is fairly rare compared to other types of sprains and takes even longer than a regular sprain to heal. From the way you fell, it doesn't sound like you have a high ankle sprain.

    The next winter, it wasn't healed enough to ski on it (almost a year later!). So I finally went to the doctor and they prescribed physical therapy. The PT worked. I'm not sure why your therapist said to come back in 2 weeks. I got PT 2x per week.

    So, I'd look into whether more intensive PT could help first.

  5. #5
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    Back at the end July 2011 I somehow rolled my ankle it during a crash or running. It didn't feel quite right for about 4 weeks and one day on a ride I had to unclip quickly hurt like hell. Went to an sports ortho and after and MRI I found out that I had a split tear of my peroneal brevis tendon and tendinopathy of my peroneal longus tendon. I was sent to PT in September and am still going. It feels much better but still not right. I can unclip without pain but after running it is sore.

    So it is possible that you may have done some damage to ligaments/tendon and may be time to get it checked out by a ortho.

  6. #6
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    I think it may be some kind of peroneal tendon problem, maybe inflammation.

    I recall having aching feet at the bottom/outerside of my foot when I walked too much (normal day's activities only) a few months ago. It was at the area of the peronus longus tendon at the bottom of the foot in this picture.


    However and soreness and aching now comes from this area:


    My exams ends next Tuesday, and I've booked an appointment with the PT on Wednesday.
    New rider, MTBing is fun!

  7. #7
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    Any "Sprain" is a tear in the ligament or tendon. And there are different severities of this. There are basically 2 ways to tear the tendon or ligament. Across the fibers ,or along the fibers. Across is worse than the latter. Tendons and ligament take FAR longer to heal than bones. This is because tendons and ligaments do not get the blood supply that bones do. With the ankle, many Dr's say that you're better off breaking the ankle than spraining the ankle. If you don't rest the foot, you will continually aggravate the tear. It will probably take a couple months for it to fully heal without any aggravation. Add what you are doing to it, and add more recovery. Getting a massage will not help. It is not a muscle. Therapy is a good idea. The idea behind therapy for ankles, is to strengthen the supporting muscles. You don't want to do anything where you are rotating your foot, in the beginning. Try standing on said hurt foot, then lift other foot off the ground and balance on the hurt foot. You can add to this by lifting the good foot off the ground, lifting your knee up so your thigh is parallel to the ground, then lower and extend your knee and move your foot behind your calf. Your basically trying to balance on the affected foot and strengthen the muscles going up from the ankle. Also, try some Ibuprofen to help with any swelling, and some ice.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneReaction View Post
    I think it may be some kind of peroneal tendon problem, maybe inflammation.

    I recall having aching feet at the bottom/outerside of my foot when I walked too much (normal day's activities only) a few months ago. It was at the area of the peronus longus tendon at the bottom of the foot in this picture.


    However and soreness and aching now comes from this area:


    My exams ends next Tuesday, and I've booked an appointment with the PT on Wednesday.
    Best of luck with your PT appointment. My ortho had me in a aircast (walking boot) for about 3 weeks before PT. As mucky pointed out PT will work with you to strengthen the supporting muscles. I spend most of my PT time using therabands, wobble board, toe raises, standing one the bad ankle while picking the other leg up and tossing a ball back and forth to my therapist and lost of stretching. E-stim has also helped quite a bit.

    I still have days when it gets sore and it been 4 months. I can definitely say it is much better now than when I started PT but still not back 100%. As far as cardio when I am at the gym I pretty much stick to the elliptical and spinning as I can keep my foot from rotating.

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